SOPA / PIPA and You

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

So today your favorite sites were blacked out today. Many of you want to know how this bill effects you as a yoyoer.
Well it is not exactly that clear cut and the following should not be used as legal advice in any way shape or form. This is what I have researched and discussed with people smarter than me:
The intent of these bills is to reduce piracy. This is a good thing. Piracy hurts independent developers and encourages causes big companies to use nightmarish DRM. Ideas may be free, but when you have created something it becomes content and that content deserves to be protected.
SOPA and PIPA are not the answer. Under the vague language SOPA and PIPA purpose, a violation or even being accused of a violation could cause your website, the websites you visit, and/or your digital identity to be shut down, erased, or censored. Not like censoring out a bad word. I mean censor like, the you are no longer allowed to speak about a subject any more. The worst part of all of this is that it is unclear if you would have any warning, or be able to take any action once you are charged. Even worse, the owner of the Intellectual property doesn’t even need to be the one who files the complaint.
The following are common things almost all yoyoers do that could be considered a violation:

  • Using a song in a freestyle
  • Using a song in a yoyo video
  • Remixing a song on Soundcloud
  • Take pictures of yoyos that show a logo
  • Customize or mod yoyos and publish details of the changes
  • Linking to any of the above
  • and quite a bit more.

If YoYoSkills were to, link to, and was found to have items that call for a SOPA/PIPA action, then could be considered to be contributing to’s violation. Its that crazy.  It is a huge pair of bills and if very broad and open in the language. The problem is that the people deciding what is and is not a violation don’t understand how the internet works. In a committee hearing on SOPA, co-sponsor Mel Watts (D-NC) openly stated, “I’m not a nerd” then admited he understood nothing about the law, how the internet worked, or pretty much anything else related to it. He is relying on what his lobbyists are telling him. In fact, almost all who support SOPA / PIPA in Congress are relying on what their lobbyists are telling them. Guess who the lobbyist belong to?

So, that is why I blacked out today. This is why Reddit, Wikipedia, Wired, Fark, The Oatmeal, and a handful of other giant sites blacked out content also.
There is something that you can do. Contact your state representative.  If you don’t know who that is, then go HERE and find out.  These guys will walk you through the entire process.  All you have to do is add your name.


Chris "Dr. Yo-Yo" Allen is the creator and founder of He has been yoyoing for over 25 years and has a passion for the industry.

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